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From Empty Grids to Interactive Playgrounds: Parking Lots and their Evolving Identities

From Empty Grids to Interactive Playgrounds: Parking Lots and their Evolving Identities

In theory, parking spaces serve only one function: park a car safely until it is used again, and in terms of design, car garages are flexible and straightforward, requiring minimal design interventions. However, parking spaces nowadays are no longer considered one-function buildings. The emptier the space, the more potential it has to integrate additional functions. Architects and urban planners have redefined traditional parking lots, adding recreational and commercial facilities to the structure. Instead of a typical structured grid plan with yellow and white markings on the floor, we are now seeing inviting structures that incorporate green facades and rooftop playgrounds, car washes, cafeterias, and work/study zones.

© Nelson Garrido/1111Lincoln Road Shot Reprinted with permission from MBeach1, LLLPVeranda Car Park in Rotterdam, Holland. Image © Paul de Ruiter Architects by Rien van RijthovenPagoda House I/O Architects . Image © Assen EmilovOpen Platform and JAJA Architects Win Competition to Design Denmark’s First Wooden Parking House. Image © JAJA Architects + Open Platform+ 25

Although parking spaces are often overlooked, they have a great influence on how people respond to the spaces they are driving through. Whether the driver did not find a wide empty lot, or a bunch of cars piled up behind him/her while attempting to park, these spaces can be detrimental to the driver's mood if not well designed. Other burdens include being surrounded by a great number of columns, not enough space to change the car's direction, not enough space for pedestrians to walk next to the car, etc. 

Park'n'Play by JAJA Architects. Image Courtesy of JAJA Architects
Park'n'Play by JAJA Architects. Image Courtesy of JAJA Architects

In terms of standardization, there are no universal rules that apply to all nations. However, there are various similarities in terms of spacing, dimensions, orientation, and infographics. White and yellow stripes are often painted on the ground to mark the outline of parking zones and driving directions. For a better visibility, the lines are extended onto the surrounding walls at a height of approximately 1 meter. Ceilings are just as important as walls and floors, which is why overhangs are always taken into account when designing a parking space. 


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The New Cool in Parking Garage Design

Single Car Lot Dimensions

  • Minimum single car park length: > 5 m 
  • Minimum single car park width: ~ 2.30 m
  • Minimum single disabled car park width: > 3.50 m
  • Minimum single car park height: > 2.15 m (up to 2.40 m for trucks)

Courtesy of Ernst Neufert Architect's Data
Courtesy of Ernst Neufert Architect's Data

Parking Layouts and their Dimensions

© ArchDaily
© ArchDaily

Parking Type: Parallel

© ArchDaily
© ArchDaily

Parking Type: 30° oblique lots with a one-way direction

© ArchDaily
© ArchDaily

Parking Type: 45° oblique lots with a one-way direction

© ArchDaily
© ArchDaily

Parking Type: 90° lots with a two-way direction

© ArchDaily
© ArchDaily

Parking Type: 45° double aisle with identical one-way direction

© ArchDaily
© ArchDaily

Parking Type: 45° double aisle with opposite one-way direction

© ArchDaily
© ArchDaily

Parking Type: 60° double aisle with identical one-way direction

© ArchDaily
© ArchDaily

Parking Type: 90° double aisle with identical two-way direction

Although there is an ongoing plan to replace cars with electric vehicles, bicycles, and eco-friendly public transport, the world is yet to realize this goal entirely and definitely. Instead, parking buildings have adopted new functions to make use of the empty space and provide users with complementary functions. Open Platform (OP) and JAJA Architects, together with Rama Studio and Søren Jensen Engineers are designing Denmark's first wooden parking house.

Open Platform and JAJA Architects Win Competition to Design Denmark’s First Wooden Parking House. Image © JAJA Architects + Open Platform
Open Platform and JAJA Architects Win Competition to Design Denmark’s First Wooden Parking House. Image © JAJA Architects + Open Platform

Another project by JAJA Architects is the Park'n'Play, which transforms a parking house roof into a living urban space with sports and play equipment.

Park'n'Play by JAJA Architects. Image © Rasmus Hjortshøj
Park'n'Play by JAJA Architects. Image © Rasmus Hjortshøj

THIRD NATURE designed a solution for the modern-day urban issues of flooding, parking, and lacking green spaces with their project, POP-UP, a stacked green space, car park, and water reservoir.

All-In-One Structure Solves Flooding, Parking and the Lack of Green Space in Cities. Image Courtesy of THIRD NATURE
All-In-One Structure Solves Flooding, Parking and the Lack of Green Space in Cities. Image Courtesy of THIRD NATURE

Parking Layouts and their dimensions are retrieved from Ernst Neufert Architect's Data

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About this author
Cite: Dima Stouhi. "From Empty Grids to Interactive Playgrounds: Parking Lots and their Evolving Identities" 28 Apr 2021. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/960672/from-empty-grids-to-interactive-playgrounds-parking-lots-and-their-evolving-identities> ISSN 0719-8884
© ArchDaily

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